On 4 April at 6pm, we invite you to the opening of the exhibition “Vilnius ORT Technicum – A Window to the Future” at the 5th floor atrium of the National Library of Lithuania. In this exhibition dedicated to the 700th anniversary of Vilnius, you will get a closer look at another aspect of life in interwar Vilnius – the Jewish Higher Technical School.
You will be able to see the documents from the Judaica Collection of the National Library that speak on the history and activities of the Technicum. Among the exhibits are research papers and photographs of the school’s students, various documents related to their studies, and Yiddish textbooks written by the school’s teachers.
The Society for Crafts and Agricultural Labour (ORT), founded in Russia at the end of the 19th century, was intended to develop the agricultural skills of poor Jews and to improve their professional skills. In the early 20th century, the ORT expanded beyond Russia, opening its headquarters in Berlin in 1921, eventually becoming a worldwide organisation that is still operating today.
The Technicum, opened in 1921, was the pride of the ORT branch in Vilnius between the wars. In 1937, its activities and achievements were presented at the world exhibition “The Place of Art and Technology in Modern Life” in Paris.
The Jewish Higher Technical School trained electrical and mechanical engineers – future assistant engineers. With their strong professional practical skills, they were able to adapt easily to the industrial needs of the time. Graduates of the Technicum were not only employed in industrial enterprises in Vilnius Region and Poland, but also, with their high qualifications, could easily find jobs in other countries.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a video projection in the windows of the former Technicum building by the photographer Richard Schofield and Mark Adam Harold. Since 1925, the Vilnius ORT Technicum has been located at Gdansko (now Islandijos) Street, in two three and four-storey buildings bearing the number three. The buildings were not damaged during the war and have retained some of their function – they now house the vocational training department of the Vilnius College of Technology and Design. From 31 March to 2 April, in the evenings (8pm to 4am), a video projection will be shown in the windows of 3 Islandijos Street, where you will be able to see photographs of the students who studied there between the wars.
Organiser of the exhibition National Library of Lithuania
Partners World ORT, Vilnius College of Technology and Design, “Centre Medem”
Funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture
Exhibition authors Aistė Puidokaitė, Lara Lempertienė
Exhibition architect Gediminas Akstinas
Exhibition designer Brigita Bukialytė
The exhibition will be open from 4 April to 31 May. The exhibition will be on display at the Education Lab - Laimė Lukošiūnienė Hall (5th floor) of the National Library.